Grow Your Story is a bi-annual fiction development programme for 10 writers from Black, Asian, Mixed Heritage and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Writers on the 2022 programme were offered the opportunity to develop their adult fiction manuscript through online workshops led by industry professionals. Each writer was offered one-on-one mentorship with both a Hachette editor and an agent from David Higham Associates for up to six hours.
The structure of the programme was as follows:
- Seven online workshops led by HUK editors and industry professionals. Topics covered included editing, redrafting, pitching, finding the core of your story and applying for grants. Workshops were delivered by industry professionals including editorial director at Chatto Rose Tomaszewska, author Vaseem Khan, literary agent Niki Chang and Square Peg assistant editor Emily Martin.
- Feedback on submitted work during the workshop process – up to two writers were selected for group assessment per workshop.
- A mentoring package including up to a combined 6 hours of one-to-one mentoring with both an editor and agent and a visit to Hachette UK offices (depending on location), for face-to-face meeting with their editorial mentor.
- Fortnightly online meetups with writers on the programme following the workshops.
- The opportunity to feature their sample work in a showcase booklet and online and participate in an online showcase at the end of the programme, distributed to Hachette editors and agents.
- Following the workshops and towards the end of the programme, writers visited Hachette for an open day, where they attended in-person workshops providing insight to other areas of publishing, such as marketing, publicity and rights.
- Writers had no obligation during the programme or after completion to Hachette UK or any of our supporting partners.
The 2022 judges were Vaseem Kham (Hodder & Stoughton author), Sara Adams (editorial director, Hodder & Stoughton), Niki Chang (DHA Literary Agent), Amy Mae Baxter (Bad Form Review) and Lipfon Tang (Quercus Books senior marketing executive and co-chair of the Thrive network).
The 10 writers selected for the programme include Tamyra Johnson, an alumni of City, University of London’s The Novel Studio whose novel, The Colour of Gold, ‘weaves literary analysis and poetic verse into the craft of storytelling’; Ranjit Saimbi, who was highly commended in the 2018 Bridport competition for his short story Near Llandaff and who is working on his debut novel, Burnout; and journalist Monica Sarkar, whose debut novel, Pink Crown, explores the experiences and conflicts of the diaspora.
Seema Clear, a Ugandan writer, ‘occasional poet’, and translator of Gujarati, also joined the scheme, as well as Anna-Zohra Tikly whose work Between the Wars ‘was forged in the fire of the anti-apartheid movement’; Ilana Graham, a final-year Liberal Arts student at King’s College London; Joylene De-Whyte, an adult/YA writer who was shortlisted in Penguin Random House #MerkyBooks New Writers Prize 2021; and Tatum Anderson, a journalist and writer working on Mengo Baby, her second novel.
German-Ghanaian writer Franziska Bioh is currently developing her first novel and also joins the scheme, alongside Zayne Kadry, whose writing has been longlisted for the Penguin WriteNow 2018 programme and the 2021 Morley Prize. She is also an alumnus of the HarperCollins Author Academy. Her work in progress is a ‘fun-filled fantasy that follows a young woman with superpowers on a journey of self-discovery and growth’.
The next Grow Your Story programme will be held in 2024.